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How do I boot my Linux virtual machine into single user mode?

Question:

How do I boot my Linux® virtual machine into single user mode?

Some reasons why you might wish to boot into single user mode include:

  • You have forgotten the password for the only account on the virtual machine.
  • You have edited a file that caused corruption or an invalid configuration in the operating system.
  • You cannot enable the root account using methods discussed in Why am I unable to login to my Linux OS server as "root"?.

Answer:

When booting the virtual machine into Single User Mode:

  • RHEL – Requires no password
  • CentOS – Requires no password
  • Ubuntu – May require root password
  • Debian – May require root password

Note: For Ubuntu or Debian, if you do not have the root password, IBM cannot recover the password.

  1. Restart the virtual machine.
  2. Access the GRUB screen.
  3. Select the kernel.
  4. Press the e key to edit the entry.
  5. Select second line (the line starting with the word kernel).
  6. Press the e key to edit kernel entry so that you can append single user mode.
  7. Append the letter S or the word Single to the end of the (kernel) line.
  8. Press the ENTER key.
  9. Press the b key to boot the Linux kernel into single user mode.
  10. If prompted, type the root password.
  11. Virtual machine will boot into Single User Mode.
  12. Edit the necessary files or make necessary changes.
  13. Save any changes.
  14. Restart the virtual machine; it will restart into normal user mode automatically.

Note: If you are unable to access the GRUB screen or do not catch the prompt for it, open a ticket with support referencing KB 1004129 to have the Power-On Boot Delay changed.

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